Dr Rati Chand Vajpeyi, MD (PGI), Fellow of International School of Cancer Care, UK (Consultant Clinical Oncologist)
Fortunately, my medical training was in an era, where our teachers were dedicated and made sure we were proficient in Clinical Methods.
The most important of them being, Observation, followed closely by Listening to the patient and then Palpation, Percussion and Auscultation. More sophisticated tools, for Diagnosis were not popular as they were expensive and not readily available. We thus learnt to trust our own sensory perceptions and work in partnership with the patient.
Over the years, I noticed the medical profession gradually transforming. Advancement in Medical Technology has turned what was a skilled-based art to a tangible practice that must be proved when required. In the process, I feel that the goal of healing a patient has become secondary to treating the Disease. The patient is more of a ‘case ‘with a number for statistics and reports, than a person. We now rely more on reports from Technical Diagnostic Methods, than on our acumen. Often the loser has been the patient to whom we owe our profession.
I realize that Orthodox Western Medicine does not have answers to cure all ailments. There is a lot to be learnt from Indigenous, traditional methods of healing from different ethnic cultures. As an Oncologist I have often incorporated Alternate or Complementary (as I call them) therapies in my clinical practice.
Homeopathy has been part of my growing up. Almost every family in Bengal, India, has a small collection of vials with small sweet globules for minor ailments. My father was a staunch believer and practiced it as a hobby. I know just enough of Homeopathy to respect it, and believe that it considers a patient to be a person with his /her individual physique, temperament, and psyche and that therapy is tailored for that unique person. I hope that I will learn more and be a better healer rather than just a Doctor of Medicine.